Ayurvedic Treatment for Schizophrenia

Ayurvedic Treatment for Schizophrenia

Discover the holistic approach of Ayurvedic medicine for managing schizophrenia through dosha imbalances, Panchakarma therapies, and lifestyle modifications. Learn more.

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, and behavior, affecting millions worldwide. The impact of schizophrenia on mental health can be profound, disrupting an individual's ability to function in daily life. 

While modern medicine offers various treatments, the holistic approach of Ayurvedic medicines and therapies for schizophrenia presents promising avenues for managing this condition.

In recent years, Ayurveda has gained recognition for its holistic approach to mental health disorders, including schizophrenia. By addressing the underlying imbalances in the body and mind, Ayurvedic treatments for schizophrenia aim to alleviate symptoms and promote long-term wellness. Let’s dive deeper!

Schizophrenia through Ayurvedic Lens: Insights into Unmada and Dosha Imbalance

Ayurveda perceives schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders as Unmada, arising from dosha imbalances, particularly Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, alongside the concept of Agni (digestive fire).
Ayurveda defines Unmada as a disorder emerging when physical and psychological stressors disrupt the balance of humors—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—forcing them upwards to the manas (mind).

Regardless of the subtype, Unmada affects various facets of an individual's personality, including thoughts, intellect, awareness, memory, desires, habits, psychomotor activities, and routine daily living. 

These changes may manifest acutely or progress chronically, ultimately resulting in the affected individual losing touch with reality and struggling to sustain themselves in society.

Dosha Imbalance: Key Contributor to Schizophrenia 

Ayurveda emphasizes dosha imbalance as a pivotal factor in schizophrenia. Each dosha—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—governs specific physiological and psychological functions. Imbalances in these doshas can manifest as symptoms akin to schizophrenia. 

For instance, Vata imbalance may lead to anxiety and instability, while Pitta imbalance can result in aggression and intense emotions. Similarly, Kapha imbalance may cause lethargy and withdrawal.

Agni and Its Role in Mental Health 

The concept of Agni, representing the digestive fire, holds significant importance in Ayurveda's approach to mental health. When Agni weakens or becomes imbalanced, it hampers the digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients, leading to the accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body. This toxic buildup can adversely affect mental well-being. 

Restoring Mind-Body Equilibrium 

Ayurveda emphasizes restoring the balance of doshas and promoting mind-body equilibrium to address the root cause of dosha imbalance, alleviate symptoms associated with Unmada, and manage schizophrenia effectively. Personalized treatment strategies encompass herbal remedies, dietary modifications, lifestyle adjustments, Panchakarma therapy, yoga, meditation, and spiritual practices.

Ayurvedic Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Ayurvedic diagnosis of schizophrenia involves a comprehensive understanding of the individual's constitution and current mental imbalances, and identifying Vikriti (current imbalances) related to the disorder.

  • Prakriti Analysis: Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of Prakriti, or individual constitution, in diagnosing and treating schizophrenia. By assessing the inherent balance of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas in an individual, Ayurvedic practitioners gain insights into their susceptibility to mental imbalances and tailor treatment accordingly.
  • Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Diagnosis): Nadi Pariksha, an ancient diagnostic technique, involves assessing the pulse to detect subtle imbalances in the body and mind. By observing the pulse characteristics, Ayurvedic practitioners can identify disturbances in the doshas and pinpoint areas of imbalance that contribute to schizophrenia symptoms.

Identifying Vikriti: In addition to assessing the individual's Prakriti, Ayurvedic diagnosis of schizophrenia involves identifying Vikriti, or current imbalances, related to the disorder. Through detailed examination and evaluation of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, Ayurvedic practitioners discern the specific dosha disturbances contributing to schizophrenia and devise personalized treatment strategies to restore balance and promote healing.

Ayurvedic Approaches for the Management and Treatment of Schizophrenia 

While modern medicine offers various treatments, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, provides a holistic approach to managing schizophrenia. 

Ayurvedic Medicines for Schizophrenia 

Ayurveda recognizes several medicinal herbs renowned for their calming and balancing properties, which are particularly beneficial for individuals with schizophrenia.

Among the notable herbs are:

  • Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): Brahmi is revered in Ayurveda for its profound effects on cognitive function and mental clarity. It enhances memory, concentration, and learning capacity, making it invaluable in managing cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Known as the "Indian ginseng," Ashwagandha is a potent adaptogen that helps the body cope with stress and anxiety. It calms the nervous system, reduces cortisol levels, and promotes relaxation, thereby alleviating symptoms of stress and emotional instability often experienced by individuals with schizophrenia.
  • Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi): Jatamansi is renowned for its calming and grounding properties, making it an effective herb for promoting emotional stability and tranquility. It helps reduce feelings of agitation, restlessness, and irritability, providing relief from emotional disturbances associated with schizophrenia.

Additionally, Ayurvedic formulations like Saraswatarishta and Shankhpushpi Ghrita are specifically tailored to support mental health. Saraswatarishta nourishes the nervous system and enhances cognitive function, while Shankhpushpi Ghrita promotes mental clarity and emotional balance, aiding individuals in coping with the challenges of schizophrenia.

Panchakarma Therapy for Schizophrenia 

Panchakarma, a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine, offers a profound detoxification and rejuvenation therapy for individuals with schizophrenia. 

  • Detoxification for Balancing Doshas: Central to Panchakarma therapy is the concept of detoxification, which serves as a means of balancing the doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—within the body. 

Through procedures like Vamana (therapeutic vomiting), Virechana (therapeutic purgation), and Nasya (nasal administration of medicated oils), toxins (ama) accumulated in the body are eliminated, restoring harmony to the physiological processes. Virechana, in particular, aids in the removal of morbid doshas through the rectal route, thereby reducing symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

  • Shirodhara: Shirodhara, a renowned Ayurvedic therapy, involves the continuous pouring of warm herbal oils or liquids onto the forehead (third eye). In individuals with schizophrenia, Shirodhara helps alleviate symptoms of restlessness, insomnia, and aggressiveness, promoting mental peace and emotional balance. The therapy clears the manovaha srotas (channels of the mind) and facilitates the alleviation of psychiatric symptoms.
  • Basti (Enema) Therapy: Basti, another integral component of Panchakarma therapy, involves the administration of medicated enemas to cleanse and rejuvenate the body. In individuals with schizophrenia, Basti therapy helps alleviate symptoms such as digestive disturbances, lethargy, and cognitive impairment, fostering overall well-being and mental clarity.
  • Other External Therapies: In addition to internal therapies, external treatments like Udhwartana (powder massage) and Shirotalam (application of herbal powders on the vertex) offer promising results in managing schizophrenia. 
  • Udhwartana aims at pacifying aggravated Kapha dosha, which may contribute to symptoms of schizophrenia. 
  • Nasal instillation with cleansing oils or ghee helps clear the manovaha srotas, alleviating psychiatric symptoms. 
  • Shirotalam, applied on the head region, calms the mind and enhances stress response by improving circulation, thereby reducing symptoms of restlessness and aggressiveness.

Dietary Guidelines for the Management and Treatment of Schizophrenia 

Diet plays a significant role in Ayurvedic management and treatment of schizophrenia, with specific emphasis on Sattvic dietary principles, avoidance of Tamasic foods, and the importance of regular meal times and mindful eating practices. Let's delve into these dietary guidelines and their impact on individuals with schizophrenia.

Sattvic Foods

Sattvic foods are fresh, fragrant, and seasonal, helping the mind function at its maximum capacity. Whole grains, millets, fresh fruits, and vegetables, dairy products (preferably cow's milk), nuts, and honey are included in the Sattvic food category. Here's a breakdown of the impact of Sattvic diet on the body, mind, and soul:

  • Initiates the day with warm water with lemon juice to alkalize and cleanse the body, aiding in toxin removal and reducing the risk of illness and disease.
  • Increases mental agility and adaptability, promoting health and longevity.
  • Focuses on cooling foods like green leafy vegetables, fruits, sprouts, and sprouted grains, aiding in quick digestion, regular bowel movements, and clear skin.
  • Incorporates healthy fats such as ghee and coconut oil, enhancing brain function and memory.

Tamasic Foods

Tamasic foods include leftovers, foods kept overnight, canned or refrigerated meals, fermented or stale foods, alcohol, cigarettes, onions, garlic, and vinegar. They induce toxic buildup in the body, leading to laziness, dullness, and sluggishness. Here's a breakdown of the impact of the Tamasic diet on the body and mind:

  • Impairs the body's ability to fight disease, destabilizes the immune system, and alters normal neural pathways in the brain.
  • Leads to dark, powerful urges like greed or rage, inadequate cognitive skills, and lethargy, hindering spiritual growth.
  • Damages the body's natural defenses, causing a breakdown in immune function and contributing to mental health issues such as schizophrenia.

Incorporating Sattvic foods and avoiding Tamasic foods can significantly impact the management of schizophrenia, promoting mental clarity, emotional balance, and overall well-being.

Regular Meal Times and Mindful Eating Practices

Ayurveda emphasizes the significance of regular meal times and mindful eating practices in maintaining optimal health and well-being. Eating meals at consistent times helps regulate digestion and metabolism, promoting physical and mental balance. 

Additionally, practicing mindfulness while eating involves paying attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of food, as well as being present in the moment during meals. Mindful eating encourages better digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients, fostering overall health and vitality.

Yoga and Meditation for Mental Well-being 

Yoga and meditation are integral components of Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia. Asanas (postures) promote physical and mental balance, while Pranayama (breath control) techniques reduce stress and enhance mental clarity. Mindfulness meditation cultivates awareness and helps individuals manage symptoms effectively, fostering inner peace and emotional resilience.

Lifestyle Modifications 

Ayurveda advocates for lifestyle modifications to support individuals with schizophrenia in their journey toward wellness. Establishing a daily routine (Dinacharya) promotes stability and routine while ensuring adequate sleep is crucial for mental health. 

Creating a supportive social and environmental atmosphere, characterized by positive relationships and a nurturing environment, enhances the healing process and facilitates recovery.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Approach Across India 

Ayurvedic medicine offers a holistic and personalized approach to managing schizophrenia across various regions of India. Let's explore the Ayurvedic treatment options available in different cities across India.

  • Kerala: Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia in Kerala offers specialized treatment centers that integrate ancient healing techniques with modern advancements.
  • Bangalore: Centers for Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia in Bangalore combine traditional wisdom with contemporary approaches to the management and treatment of this condition.
  • Hyderabad: Ayurvedic treatment centers for schizophrenia in Hyderabad provide a diverse range of therapies tailored to address the multifaceted nature of schizophrenia. 
  • Mumbai: This bustling metropolis offers access to clinics and wellness centers equipped for Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia in Mumbai with experienced and skilled practitioners.  
  • Chennai: Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia in Chennai emphasizes the restoration of dosha balance through individualized care plans. 
  • Delhi: The capital city of India boasts a vibrant Ayurvedic healthcare sector. Ayurvedic treatment for schizophrenia in Delhi through a combination of traditional Ayurvedic therapies and modern diagnostic techniques.

Embracing Holistic Healing for The Treatment of Schizophrenia 

In conclusion, Ayurveda offers a holistic and patient-centered approach to managing schizophrenia, empowering individuals to embark on a journey toward healing, balance, and well-being. 

By integrating Ayurvedic principles and practices into mainstream healthcare, individuals with schizophrenia can access comprehensive and personalized treatment approaches that address their unique needs and foster long-term wellness.

As research in Ayurvedic mental health treatment advances, the future holds exciting possibilities for integrating Ayurveda into mainstream psychiatric care, offering hope and healing to individuals grappling with this challenging disorder.


What is the best treatment for schizophrenia?

The best treatment for schizophrenia involves a holistic approach that addresses imbalances in the mind and body. This includes herbal remedies, Panchakarma therapies, dietary modifications, and lifestyle adjustments tailored to individual dosha imbalances.

What is the best exercise for schizophrenia?

In Ayurveda, yoga is often recommended as a beneficial exercise for schizophrenia. Asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), and meditation help balance the doshas, calm the mind, and reduce stress, which can alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia.

What is the permanent solution for schizophrenia?

Ayurveda does not offer a permanent cure for schizophrenia but focuses on managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being through ongoing treatment. This includes maintaining dosha balance, following a Sattvic diet, and engaging in regular Panchakarma therapies and yoga practices.

How can I treat schizophrenia on my own?

Treating schizophrenia from an Ayurvedic perspective involves seeking guidance from qualified Ayurvedic practitioners. Self-treatment is not recommended due to the complexity of the disorder. However, individuals can support their treatment by following Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, including proper diet, exercise, and stress management techniques, under professional guidance.


  • Kulamarva K, Shivakumar V, Chikkanna U, Ramakrishna KK, Bhargav H, Varambally S. Role of Ayurveda in the management of psychotic disorders: A systematic review of clinical evidence. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2023 May-Jun;14(3):100720. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2023.100720. Epub 2023 Jun 7. PMID: 37290315; PMCID: PMC10267528.
  • Impact of Satvik, Rajasic and Tamasic foods on human body and mind. Yogesh Department of Yoga Science, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana, India. ISSN: 2456-4419 Impact Factor: (RJIF): 5.18 Yoga 2023; 8(1): 269-272 © 2023 Yoga. 
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